Loving Cats: It is not always pure harmony

You love your cat. You care for your cat really well. Everything is right, and as it should be, chez-toi. But….there is always a “but”, it can’t always be pure harmony between you and your cat. It does not matter how much you love her, there has to be something that occasionally irritates you. A niggle that tweaks your brain. You are going to tell me, No, there isn’t.

I am not writing about something that your cat does that is annoying. I am writing about something that your cat does that you, because of your temperament and lifestyle, find irritating. This is about us. Cats are cats. What they do, is what they do. We appreciate that. But even the most harmonious marriage of the most enduring kind requires some work and there will be something that annoys either of the partners.

Here are some examples of the things that occasionally irritate me about living with any cat.

Getting Under Your Feet

Yes, this can be irritating. It is not because of the cat. A cat is nuzzling up against you when you are about to feed her. She is exchanging scent and feeling good, about to get her dinner. You are much bigger than her and she is right down there under your feet. It is both sweet and nice but also irritating because you are fearful that one day, you’ll turn around and walk on his foot or leg or something and hurt him. It is the fear of that which annoys.

If you have several cats there must be a greater likelihood of hurting one of them by walking into one. The danger is heightened when feeding kittens. I have never feed kittens because I have always adopted adults. However, I wonder how many kittens have been killed or seriously injured because their owner inadvertently walked on them. The fear of doing that would wind me up slightly and that emotion is something I don’t want to feel when I am trying to feed my cat and do X, Y and Z at the same time.

Screaming For Food

The domestic cat seems to have lost his ability to self-regulate food intake. Even when overweight and fed adequately a cat will demand more. You have to put your foot down and refuse. You have to diet your cat. Very often you have to diet yourself at the same time. It is double dieting. That can get to you after a while. Dieting is about mental discipline. It often leads to failure. That irritates and upsets. Looking at your slightly overweight cat is a reminder of your failure.

Some cats don’t scream for food and aren’t overweight. They might even be underweight. However, we are told that, in the USA, more than half of dogs and cats are overweight. One reason is because a cat does not want to self-regulate food intake. You never see fat wild cats. You never see fat lions and lions are pretty efficient hunters, which allows them to sleep more than any other cat, yet the lion still maintains a healthy weight. This must be due to self-regulation.

When a cat asks for food and you have to refuse, it can be a bit irritating because (a) you want to please your cat and you can’t on this occasion and (b) he is pestering you for food and you can’t explain that it is not a  good idea to eat more.

It seems that we (humans) have created a bit of a monster in the overfeeding domestic cat. It is our problem. One reason for it is dry cat food which encourages eating.

Scratching

I don’t like to see my cat scratching himself. It is perfectly normal and he has no medical problems at present that encourages it. From a human perspective – and my perspective – a cat tends to over-scratch. Charlie, my cat, belts away with his hind legs and those long claws scratching his forehead or some other area around the head and I just want him to stop after a few swipes but he goes and on. Cats must have thick skin. The fur protects them too. This probably accounts for what I consider to be over doing it. If I am near him I gently stop him.

Sneezing

My cat has a sneeze that is louder than mine! Well, not quite but it is at the same volume. What is a bit irritating is that he sneezes several times in a row and he might do it all over my computer while I am writing something like this. It is the noise, the shock factor, that is slightly upsetting to me.

The things that might grate against the harmony of a nice relationship with a cat is very personal to the person. As I said it is about the person, not the cat.

We should accept everything a cat does. The things that I mentioned probably don’t bother most people. The classic irritations for most people are scratching furniture and shedding hair everywhere. These things don’t bother me at all. They won’t bother a cat lover.

The things that I have mentioned are similar to leaving the toothpaste top off the toothpaste or not putting the toilet seat down. The little niggles between married couples.

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Loving Cats: It is not always pure harmony — 24 Comments

  1. Good article Michael and I can well understand how some things irritate people about cats, but a good cat caretaker like you are would never blame the cat or let him know what irritates you.
    We have over the years developed a ‘think cat’ attitude never stepping back or pushing a chair back or doing anything at all really without ‘thinking cat’ It becomes second nature.
    We take them into our lives so we have to accept they are cats not people and I’m sure things we do irritate them too lol
    such as closing doors, cats must wonder why on earth we do that, why don’t we like all doors open like they do.
    One thing I would change is that cats wouldn’t like to get up so early on a morning, but that can never be because that’s the way they come lol
    We are lucky to be two of us and can take turns to rise at 5am when our boyz declare morning, it’s no fun stumbling about and jealously thinking everyone else is happy sleeping, but the repayment is happy contented cats and peace and quiet to catch up on allsorts before the rest of the world arises.
    ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’

    • As we both say, it is not about the cat. We accept the cat totally. There are some “cultural” differences because we are different species. We accept and even like or love them. There are some things were, on a personal level, there can be a clash.

      The cat’s desire to be active in the early hours of the morning and late at night can cause difficulties, as you say. Fortunately for me it is not a problem because due to advancing years I tend to wake up at about the same time as Charlie!

  2. Monty urinated on Jeff’s chair last week. We don’t know why– because we were gone too long? Was he frightened by something? Was that other black cat hanging around outside and he marked his territory inside? I don’t know.

    A few days later Monty seemed to be preparing to pee in the grass in his back yard. The grass is getting long, he was pawing at it. I made sure he wasn’t going after a bee, realized he needed to pee and walked away. A few minutes later he asked to come in and he urinated in his litter box.

    So Jeff’s chair is a suitable place to pee but the grass of the back yard is not? I do not understand this behavior. I do find it funny, whereas my husband fails to see the humor.

  3. I actually wouldn’t mind screaming for food. Gigi asks for food. But if I am asleep and they want food one of them starts trying to dig a hole into the bed, under me. Strange! Lilly can be annoying because she sits on my laptop and knows perfectly well I don’t want her to – she does it for attention. Another thing she does for attention is jump on my tummy when I’m asleep and jump off it again, claws out. Now this is remarkably a horrible thing to do and she does it rarely. She did it a couple weeks ago – ran across me (had no blanket, just a teeshirt on) with claws out making a point to really jump off me so its like being punched in the stomach with sharp bits.

    This would not happen if she was allowed outside. She gets frustrated sometimes at night if nobody wants to play with her and I’m asleep. Nonetheless this is shocking behaviour and hard to accept. I try to put something on my tunny if she seems restless so she can’t do it. She’s always been a very active playful cat – sometimes she plays very rough with me pushing the other 2 away from the wand toy or whatever. Sometimes I don’t oblige because Molly or Gigi is having a ice time playing for a change and Lilly barges in. Lilly is a pretty active, seemingly wild, cat – who won’t always take no for an answer.

    Gigi in Canada used to knock things off shelves or places she knew I didn’t want her to go – if she wanted to insist on something.

    If Lilly could get out a bit and wander around I think this would subside. I always listen to them and I never ignore them so it only comes if she isn’t accepting no for an answer basically.

    • Lilly also likes to get underfoot a lot and sometimes it leads to accidents however I don’t wear shoes inside, ever, because its much more condusive to playing and being with cats basically. When I put my shoes on to go to work – they clunk on the wood floor – Molly and Gigi back right off – they sense the danger of shoes. Lilly is more brazen – she is a cat who basically doesn’t get scared by anything, nor anything I do and I guess it’s because she 100% trusts me and knows I would never ever hurt her. The other side of that is that if she wants something she abuses the fact by hurting me or annoying me on purpose knowing full well I will never punish her.

  4. Jozef has a whole repertoire to get me up, he pokes me with a paw, the shouts MEOW and if I pretend to be asleep he jumps on and off the bed lol then he whirls round like a top chasing his tail and just managing to bash into me even though we have a double bed lol but I’ve usually given in by then most days.
    I usually end up laughing and he knows he’s won.
    On Barbara’s mornings he just dons some heavy pit boots (by the sound of his feet) and jumps on and off my bed, if that doesn’t wake Babz up he goes and drags himself along the side of her bed and that gets Walter up to help him campaign.

    • If you have a voice like Charlie, you just shout! He can shout at me from the living room and wake me up…..

      He has never jumped on me. But he likes to like across me. His trademark act for getting me to do something is to sit up like this (you probably remember the picture):

      • Forgive me but the recent shave on Charlie’s arm look a little like a wristwatch. I believe he’s just looked at his watch and seen that you are very late!

  5. Great subject. I have many stories to tell, but the above comments reminded me most of Bigfoot, in the middle of the night. Even though I am a very early to rise human, it isn’t early enough for Bigfoot. He wants attention starting at 3:AM. I will sleepily reach out a hand to pet him, and he will come forward and bite the arm that is not petting him. He insists on two handed petting. He does! He will walk back and forth on my body until he gets his way. And he does get his way! Usually he will let me doze off again. This madness goes on every night like routine. When I get up at 4:30 to feed the rest of the brood, he waits for me to come back up to sit with him in my reading chair. That is our favorite time together. I can’t really say it is a huge irritation because he is quiet sleeping the rest of the day. Like a little old man.

    Don’t get me started on Marvin. The leg weaving is proving to be a real problem. He is so quiet about it, I’ve nearly broken my neck several times. I wonder why they do it? Any theories?

    Here is a photo of Bigfoot, the polydactyl.

    • 3 am 😕 That is early. A record probably. That would probably get to me eventually even though, like you, I wake up early. Perhaps we should compare cat wake up calls. Charlie actually doesn’t normally wake me up. He waits for me.

      Two-handed petting

      What is that! You are well trained and Bigfoot is very particular.

      leg weaving

      Please remind me what that is. Is he weaving in and out of your legs when you feed him? If he is it’s scent exchange. He is content and putting his scent on you and taking your scent off you and putting it on him. Sort of friendship. He is friends when you feed him 😉 Just kidding. He is friends all the time but particularly friendly when fed.

      • No Michael, not when I’m feeding him. He follows me around often when I least expect it. Always dashing between my legs causing me to trip. I fear I will fall on him, though I would be hurt more than him, as he is built like a brick you know what!

        When I feed him, he acts like the food isn’t as important as him showering me with attention and head butts. He is a sweetie.

        • Jozef sometimes runs in front of us on the stairs, we have to shuffle up and down like very old ladies lol
          Cats move so quickly!
          I think it’s an honour when they want to be as close to you as they can everywhere you go, Bigfoot and Marvin obviously worship you Dorothy.

          • It is a honour and a sign of affection and connection. I think we have discovered a theme: cats running or walking around our feet and getting in the way. That seems to be common ground. It is about size and speed. Humans have got to be smaller and move faster. That is the solution.

            • I think it’s amazing how cats trust us when we are so much bigger than they are.
              I love to get down on the floor with our boyz sometimes to pretend we are equal size and always get lots of head butts in return lol
              I think how would we feel having to manage to eat with only our mouths, not using our hands and I wonder if cats think we are strange for the things we do but they just seem to accept us as we are, don’t they?
              True cat lovers do exactly that too, accept cats as they are.

        • Yes Molly and Lilly give me thank you headbutts whilst I put the food out – sometimes I miss the plate because of the headbutts. I love when they do that.

          Bigfoot is beautiful.. So you wake up at the same time as me Dorothy, and also your cats don’t find that to be early enough! I know how you feel 🙂

          I’m sure it’s hard to say no to a starvin Marvin no matter what you are doing or when it is 🙂

        • Actually that is beautiful. I think he just wants to be with you and part of what you are doing. He is a smart cat. That is irritating but only because he is small and quick and all over your feet….arghhh. That is the sort of thing I am talking about. That sort of behavior can cause problems: trip ups and you could walk on him or something like that. Cute though.

      • Yeah Bigfoot is gorgeous with his thumbs and serious demeanour. I love long haired cats. I love the 2 handed cuddling requirement, he really knows what’s going on I guess.

  6. Oh my goodness! Now, I have to come clean!
    Mornings in my house are maddening. I get up around 2AM, walk into the kitchen to be met by a FRENZIE of cats crying to be fed. They are everywhere, wrapping around my feet, and I try as hard as I can not to step in the wrong place or fall on my face. I put on my coffee and hope to suck down at least half a cup, all the while saying, “Come on guys. NOBODY is starving here!” Then, I basically sleep-feed which gives me an opportunity to drink the second half of my coffee if I’m lucky.
    When all is quiet, I let in the inside/outside cats to feed. The inside guys are, then, wanting to take their food. I can be heard saying, “You can have seconds when everybody is fed” or “Some people haven’t even eaten ONCE yet”.
    This process takes about 3 hours.
    Then, I get in my car to check on my colonies. I have a hard time getting off my porch because my outside cats are crying to be fed. I feel so badly that I can’t lay out food for them right then because the raccoons will just steal it.
    So, am I frustrated? Am I out of my mind every morning?
    YOU BETCHA!!!

    • Wow Dee, that is true devotion. You win the prize! I can relate completely. If I had more than four, I would be doing the same. Fortunately, there are few feral cats In my neighborhood. TNR solved the problem before I moved here. Marvin and Yellowcat are two of three or four left of the original colony. There were somewhere between twenty and thirty cats I’m told.

    • Hell fire and damnation…to use an American expression. That is amazing. I don’t know what to say. I am amazed. Your story makes my annoyances seem pathetic. You do an amazing job. How many cats are there in total? Sounds like a hell of a lot. To keep a cat colony that size harmonious must be difficult.

      2 am start! Sh*t 😉 Don’t know how you do it all the time.

      • The count:
        16 strictly indoor
        10 indoor/outdoor
        So, at any given time, there are 16-26 under foot and never a cleared path to walk through the house.
        15 outdoor – the count varies depending on whether animal control has traps out in the area, if poisonings are happening, and how many “newbie” cats/kittens have been dropped off on my porch.
        The 3 colonies total 34. I am only able to feed and water them once a day but will supplement dry food in the early afternoon if any seem needy or I suspect their food was stolen by racoons. I have to pay special attention to their fresh water supply because this Florida heat is brutal.
        This alone is pretty costly, and I have had to sacrifice and take shortcuts to keep up with health issues, vaccines, etc.
        I give the majority of rabies vaccines myself. The vaccine is available OTC but is not accepted by the county as legit if not administered by a licensed vet. Too bad. I protect them regardless.
        I, too, have the rabies vaccine series which the local health department administers at a cost of about $300.00. I, usually, only have to get it every 2-3 years. I am in frequent contact with wild animals, especially racoons which are often rabies carriers. They are beautiful animals but can be very vicious. I have never been bitten, but I have been scratched several times.
        So, now we know where my time and $$ goes. I love it!
        I work harder than I ever worked all those years on the job; and, I had a very stessful and demanding profession.
        Thanks for hearing.

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